Friday, September 3, 2010

Speed Certification Exams!

Things have been very busy lately, so I apologize for my absence (in case there was actually someone out there that noticed).

My in-laws arrived from China in July, and my wife delivered our second daughter, Sarah, on August 9th.  Let's just say that those things, on top of an ever growing backlog of work have kept me more than busy lately.

So as many of you know, Microsoft has made some changes to the partner program and partner certification requirements, and they have also released the Dynamics GP 2010 certification exams.  So this month I have to take at least 3 exams to get current on the latest versions:  GP 2010 Install & Config, GP 2010 Financials, and SQL 2008.

This morning while driving to the exam center, I happened to be on a call with my blog-mate Christina, and she mentioned that when she takes certification exams that she has taken several times before, she tries to take them as fast as she can.  Apparently this is how a long time GP guru spices up her workday?

So, finding that an interesting challenge, I thought I would give it a try.  Unlike Christina, who can ace the exams in her sleep without studying, I actually studied a few hours for the Install & Config exam since there is a fair amount of content covering features that I rarely use.  Since I was pretty confident I wouldn't fail the exam, I figured that a race against the clock might be an interesting challenge.

I sat down at the exam computer at 9:46am and tried to get past the annoying 97 pages of legal babble they make you click through before starting the actual exam.  I then jumped right in, discarding the "distractors" and finding the valid answers.  Most of the questions I knew instantly, but a few made me stop and think to try and figure out the correct answer, which made me self conscious, as I could see the clock on the wall ticking away.

The questions and answers whizzed by, and in no time, I was on question 75.  Whatever that question was (something in the "configuring reporting" section), I remember that it was one where I had to stop and try and figure it out.  So close, yet thwarted by a final question.  As soon as I got through it, glanced at the review screen to finish up one question I had apparently missed (I had only checked 1 of the 2 required answers), I pushed through the "I'm Done!!!" screens and glanced up at the clock:  10:12am.

So that was 75 questions in 26 minutes, or an average of 20.8 seconds per question.  Looking back at it, I probably could have done it faster without affecting my score much, but as it was my first Speed Exam session, I was a bit nervous that going too fast would result in stupid mistakes.

I ended up with a 93%, so I passed with flying colors (or as someone I know would say:  "You studied way too much, or you took way too long, since you only need XX% to pass.").  I do wonder which 5 questions I got wrong though, something that always annoys me with the certification exams--they provide a "score" for each section, but even if I reviewed the section materials afterward, since I don't remember the specific questions (they are all a complete blur when you do them quickly), it's difficult to know which one I answered incorrectly.

Anyway, if any of you are taking your Dynamics GP Certification Exams, let me know how you did.  And if you are a long time certified Great Plains / Dynamics GP consultant and have taken the exams many times before, give the Speed Certification game a try and let us know your time and your score!

2 comments:

victoriayudin.com said...

Steve,

I wish I read this post before taking the same exam you did earlier this week, I would have timed it. :-) I also like to take these as fast as possible, I believe that I either know it right away, or I should go with my gut. Second guessing myself on questions I am not 100% sure about will typically not help my score.

I was a little surprised at the number of questions on this exam that have absolutely nothing to do with a typical implementation of GP (at least in my experience). Process Server, Word Templates, etc.

Even though I didn't time it, I know that I waited over an hour to start my exam (there was a computer error!), but once I started it took no more than half an hour. And exactly like you, I had an 'incomplete' on one question that expected 2 answers. I wonder if there is a problem with that question (it was in the 20's I think), because I was pretty sure I picked 2 answers for it.

-Victoria

Steve Endow said...

Hi Victoria,

I agree with you on some of the questions not being terribly relevant to the typical implementation. Unfortunately, the current exam guidelines require that all questions come from content in the class training materials, so the exam has to cover some items that may not be widely used. Conversely, if there is common knowledge that is not covered in the course materials, the topic can't be included as a question on the exam.

I've only used Process Server once, and I've never used Report Scheduler, but they still stick around in the training materials, so I always expect them on the exam.

And as for the Word Templates, in typical MS fashion, new product features often have questions on the exam. Several years later, if the feature is a dud and is never used, those exams questions seem pretty odd.

Steve